The delivery of protein drugs to metastatic tumors is fraught with obstacles that limit their efficacy. This article explores the barriers to the delivery of protein drugs to metastatic cancer and discusses strategies to overcome these challenges.
Cytokines and growth factors
One of the most significant hurdles in combating metastatic cancer is the delivery of protein drugs to the affected sites. The cancer cells fortify themselves behind endothelial barriers and extracellular matrix, making it difficult for therapeutic agents to reach and destroy them. Employing phagocytic immune cells as Trojan horses to overcome these barriers has immense potential.
The efficacy of chemokines and cytokines can vary depending on the type of cancer and the individual immune response of each pateint. However, some cytokines and chemokines stand out for their promise in cancer immunotherapy based on their roles in modulating the immune response. The following is a brief summary of some of these. They are listed in rough order of their relative importance.
Adoptive T cell therapies such as CAR-T cells have proven effective in treating some leukemias but have struggled to be useful in solid tumours. A recent study reported in PNAS explores a way of easily functionalizing adoptive cells so that they become decorated with a cytokine of choice. In the melanoma mouse model tested, this approach led to significantly improved efficacy.
In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in exploring new applications of growth factors and cytokines in various fields, such as regenerative medicine, cancer therapy, and tissue engineering. Awarded grant proposals provides an insight into the ongoing development of novel applications
Organ transplantation is a life-saving procedure for patients with end-stage organ failure. However, one of the major challenges in transplantation is the immune-mediated rejection of the transplanted organ by the recipient's immune system. Cytokines, a group of small proteins secreted by immune cells, play a crucial role in the immune response and are involved in the process of organ rejection.
In 2013, the journal Science chose cancer immunotherapy as the breakthrough of the year, largely due to the impact of checkpoint inhibitors. Interleukin-2 (IL-2), a cytokine, also played a part. In addition to IL-2, interferon-gamma (IFN-g), and interleukin-12 (IL-12) have come to prominence in recent years. However, toxicity limits their use. Can this be overcome?
The liver is the largest vital organ responsible for functions including metabolism, immunity, digestion, detoxification and endocrine regulation. Its multifaceted role, unique anatomical features and specialized blood supply - receiving blood directly from the GI tract and heart - render it an indispensable target for therapeutic interventions aimed at addressing liver diseases and improving overall health outcomes.
Inflammation is a natural biological response to tissue injury or infection, but chronic low-grade inflammation, also known as inflammaging, is a hallmark of ageing. In recent years, the relationship between cytokines, inflammation, and ageing has become established.
Chocolate directly affects immune system performance. Stripping back the confounding effects of other components, such as sugar, cocoa itself promotes beneficial changes which are reflected in levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.